Whoever would have expected Louisville, Kentucky to be a hotbed of pop/rock
bands? Well, somehow, the Toucan Cove label keeps finding them. The first band
from Louisville that they signed was Digby, and now they present the Muckrakers.
Front of the Parade, produced by Todd Smith (Days of the New, Smash Mouth), is
the Muckrakers’ second album overall, and is a solid collection of melodic,
harmony-laced, southern-tinged music that could hold its own against anything
put out by the likes of Sister Hazel or Pat McGee Band.
The opening two tracks, “Cigarettes and Magazines” and “Through My Door,” are
akin to the Barenaked Ladies before BNL got quirky and annoying. “Hold On” is a
guitar- driven dead ringer for Better Than Ezra, and “Breathe In Breathe Out” is
a textured, emotive song that incorporates some horns for embellishment—kudos to
producer Smith on this one. Other standouts are the upbeat “When the Morning
Comes,” and the incredibly hooky “Working My Way.” There are also a few clunkers
on here, but all in all a fine label debut, which finishes with “Happy Inn,” an
Irish pub drinking song of sorts.
The Muckrakers are the kind of band that writes solid music, tours regionally
and makes a nice living doing it. Hopefully with label support they will
continue to gain fans nationally, because they deserve every opportunity to
survive in a crowded pop/rock/AAA field. Knowing that there are pockets of music
lovers that worship easy-on-the-ears pop/rock in the Vertical/Hootie/Ezra/Hazel
vein, here’s hoping that those worshippers find the Muckrakers as well.